Energy Commission takes charge at House of Blues

2012-08-23T13:00:00Z Energy Commission takes charge at House of BluesTom Lounges Times Correspondent
August 23, 2012 1:00 pm  • 

Northwest Indiana's The Energy Commission will be cranking out amps Saturday as the closing act of the 10–band roster for the "I Am Fest 2012," an annual event sponsored and presented by The Elbo Room.

The Energy Commission band leader/founder Jay Weinberg said the event is "an annual festival for independent arts — film arts and music."

Other Chicagoland groups performing on the bill (in order) are: The Studs, The Giving Moon, The Underlined, Cobalt and the Hired Guns, The Alaya Conscious, A Friend Called Fire, Board of Governors, Leah Druzinsky and Workout Music.

Weinberg plays guitar and ukulele for The Energy Commission, which he started in 2008 with guitarist Tony Ussery. "Tony and I began as an eccentric hip hop duo when we met in art school but the band didn't come together until 2008."

The group's name is the result of Weinberg getting a splash of national media attention for being arrested while singing his original song, "Price Gouging" from the rooftop of a gas station; followed by riding his bicycle from his home in Valparaiso to Washington, D.C. A strange phone call following those events from the real Energy Commission, inspiring Weinberg to adopt it as his own for a band project.

Today, the group's line–up includes Weinberg and Ussery, along with Danielle Cales (guitar, ukulele), Nick Esola (keyboards, keytar), Josva Ibrahim (bass) and Shae MacPhersen (drums). All member hail from Valparaiso. Unique to the group is non–musical member, Clinton Worthington of LaPorte, who sets up his easel and paints live as the band plays as part of every show.

Worthington and Weinberg will both be exhibiting their original artwork at Saturday's event. "I will also have some of my video work there as well," Weinberg said. "It's going to be an amazing day. We have an amazing show with some secret surprises in store. I'm really proud so many local business owners — Mirror Image Dance Studio, Gratz Piano, Elegan, The Franklin House and Journeyman Distillery —have had a hand in helping us make this a special event.

Weinberg said the band plays original songs, but will "add a few covers that date back so far most people wouldn't recognize them."

The Energy Commission has a full album, "10,000 Hours," from which they pull songs for their live shows, though Weinberg does not feel it represents where the group is musical at today. "Our newest recording is our EP, 'Parade of Fools," and it is more of an expression of where we are now. We are working on (next) our full-length album and hope to have it finished before the end of the year."

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